I stepped on the scale after the holidays with ten extra pounds staring back at me. While I don’t want to become a slave to the scale (and would never want anyone who calls herself a Redeemed Girl to be one either,) I realized that extra baggage represented some really poor habits I developed and I desperately needed a fresh start. The extra weight was affecting my health, my mood, and my ministry. Friends, it is so not about a number on the scale! It is my absolute joy to welcome my friend and nutritionist Meredyth Cann to the Redeemed Girl blog today. Her ministry to help women glorify God by how they steward their physical bodies is such an inspiration. I’m personally so thankful for her wisdom and encouragement. –Marian
Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle in 2018
It’s that time of year again when we hope to recover from the indulgences of the holiday season and prepare for the year ahead. For many of us, this means a fresh start on taking care of our bodies and healthy eating. Perhaps you are one of the millions of Americans who set a goal to lose weight this year. While I am a firm believer in establishing goals, I also believe in creating ones that set us up for success rather than discouragement after one month of trying.
If I had to bet, you are probably highly motivated right now. If you are anything like me, you’ve seen a plethora of Instastories, new diet programs, and weight loss commercials that invite thoughts of comparison and self-hatred. Instead of getting overwhelmed and establishing a plan for the wrong reason, let’s make glorifying Jesus our end goal and stewarding our health as an act of serving Him. To maintain a healthy lifestyle in 2018, it is vital we stop and evaluate our ‘WHY.” No lasting change occurs without a vision. When we know the reason why we want to change our habits, and that reason goes beyond simply how we look on the outside, then we are more likely to commit to our plan as the year progresses.
We are physical and spiritual beings, and it’s impossible to separate the two. God created us with a physiological makeup that is directly impacted by the foods we consume. I wrote a blog on the connection between the mind, body, and soul and you can read that here. As women of God, we are good stewards of our health because we are Ambassadors of Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:20.) Being His Ambassador means we live to represent and serve Jesus in all of our activities and relationships. If our bodies are not thriving because of poor food choices, then we can’t live up to that calling. Friends, here is the bottom line: the food we put in our body matters. If we don’t feel great due to a sugar crash or other bad eating habits, then we are less likely to give Jesus our very best.
As a nutritionist and a follower of Jesus, I’d love to share with you some tips to staying healthy in the new year.
1. Meal Planning for the Win. Establishing a weekly menu or meal plan is crucial. You will find that you are less tempted to eat out and get food that isn’t good for your body if you have invested the time to plan out healthy meals. Set a specific time each week for meal planning. It has been so helpful for me to protect this time so that I know I am making my health a priority. In the long run, it saves time because I’m not constantly having to figure out what to eat next, making last minute trips to the store, or choosing unhealthy fast food.
I love using pen and paper to plan out my meals for the week because there is something extremely gratifying and satisfying for me to write down each meal and then write out a grocery list. Taking the time to plan and set a weekly menu is key to any successful health plan and helps me stick to it.
2. Drink plenty of water. Water is essential for many reasons. First of all, water transports nutrients throughout our cells. It flushes out toxins and prevents headaches, improves skin, and functions as a cushion to prevent joint pain. Also, water improves your mood, provides energy, and so much more. Who is thirsty? The normal amount we should drink on a daily basis is half our body weight in ounces. Challenge: get yourself a pretty new little water bottle and drink up, sisters! Let me recommend using the app, My Water, to track your daily intake. Personally, I love this app, and it keeps me accountable for staying hydrated.
3. Cut Back on Sugar. Here is the truth about sugar. There are no essential nutrients in sugar. Therefore, your body isn’t able to use it for good. Sugar is also hard on your liver, which is a major functioning organ when it comes to keeping our bodies healthy. Our livers weren’t designed to handle as much sugar as we digest, so they respond poorly, leading to weight gain and other issues. Too much sugar over time can cause insulin resistance, which leads to diabetes. It also has a negative impact on blood sugar balance which directly interferes with hormone regulation and can cause problems with the female endocrine system as well as acne and other skin issues.
Sugar is just as addictive as some harmful drugs out there. The more you eat it, the more your body craves it, which leads to a host of other negative impacts. We live in a world where we celebrate one another with sugar treats. Think before you consume sugar and weight the cost. Is it worth it? That is where you have to decide if the situation is worth it and you want to indulge, or if you’re just sitting by the couch with a bowl of M&Ms causing harmful effects on your body for no reason. If you desire weight loss in any capacity, cutting out sugar is a must. How do you do this? You can quit sugar cold turkey, or you can create a path of gradual decrease for yourself and make a goal of weaning with the desire to be sugar-free by summer, only indulging when it matters enough.
4. Reduce caffeine to 8oz a day or less. But what about your morning latte? Remember all the things I said above about sugar affecting hormone regulation? Caffeine is just the same. If you are experiencing skin problems, unable to lose weight, feeling jittery or have blood sugar dips, it might be wise to swap your coffee for a cup of herbal tea or more water! I would suggest only have one cup per day and then splurge when appropriate. The idea is to set goals that will work for you and help you on your health journey AND stick with your goals for longer than a month.
5. Get Moving! This one is fun. For so many reasons, it is good to get up and get moving. It’s good for your joints, heart, weight regulation, breathing, muscles, etc. Our bodies need to be in motion, so find a way to make it fun. You don’t have to do crazy cardio like the girls in the fitness shows or intense workouts if that’s not your thing. Stop looking over at what works for the girl next door and figure out what is fun for you. If it’s walking or Pilates, then go for it! All that truly matters is that we are not sedentary and move our bodies each day. There are numerous fitness apps available to help you achieve your goal.
Alright friends! Let’s not waste another minute. Here are the action steps from today’s post. Take out your journal and process through these question:
- Evaluate why you are making healthy choices for 2018. Write down why your health matters to God.
- Brainstorm tangible goals for yourself that will help you succeed and not invite discouragement.
- Leave room for grace and room to grow. Goals are guidelines, and while they are important, they can also adjust as you learn and grow.
Remember, God created our bodies to function well. When we put good things into our bodies, we get good things out of them. But because we live in a fallen world we have to fight a little bit harder for our health and to maintain good habits. I’m excited about this new year and believe God will empower each of us to meet our goals.
Praying for you!
Hi y’all, I love nutrition and I L O V E chit chatting about it! I live in Houston Texas, but I grew up in small town Kentucky which makes me a southern girl through and through. I read just about anything I can get my hands on and I study everything that interests me. I also love reading all the ingredients on the packaged goodies at whole foods… so you might find me there too. My personal nutrition journey has ebbed and flowed with the seasons of life, but what began my love of food started in my early twenties when I walked through a season of deep emotional healing and my nutritionist helped me see that nutrient dense whole foods can help to regulate emotions and steady the soul. Real food has impacted my holistic health journey in such a powerful way that I decided to become a certified nutritional therapist and I’m so thankful, I have never looked back. I would love for you to join me on this journey!